The ancient oriental eatery habits have always been appreciated all over the world for their all round benefits. Fruits, vegetables and even spices are being highly preferred for their taste, health and easy availability criterion. One such vegetable is bottle gourd. Known more in the Chinese regions and Indian subcontinents, bottle gourd has many names in local dialects such as hulu, calabash, lauki, dhudhi, hyotan, hisago etc.
Bottle Gourd or Lauki
Bottle Gourd or Lauki (Image credit: meegoring / 123RF Stock Photo)
Various old medicinal systems such Ayurveda, have praised gourd for nutrient rich contents and their magical effects in many health ailments including high blood cholesterol, diabetes, overweight, digestive problems. However, recent researches have shown a significant need to check the quality of the vegetable as some of these might be toxic and can have a fatal impact on our health. Lets find out more health related facts about bottle gourd and reap maximum benefits out of it.
Approximate 96% of water content in bottle gourd makes it ideal for extracting juice. It is enriched with dietary fiber, vitamins such as vitamin B and vitamin C, minerals like sodium, potassium, Iron, etc. Low in fat and cholesterol, and full of many healthy contents, makes a strong reason to include bottle gourd juice in our regular diet. Let’s take a look over the nutrition facts of bottle gourd juice.
As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database, Nutritional facts for 100gm raw bottle gourd are listed in the below table.
Water 96 g
Energy 14 Kcal
Protein 0.62 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.02 g
Carbohydrate 3.39 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g
Calcium 26 mg
Iron 0.20 mg
Magnesium 11 mg
Phosphorus 13 mg
Potassium 150 mg
Sodium 2 mg
Zinc 0.70 mg
Vitamin C 10.1 mg
Thiamine 0.029 mg
Riboflavin 0.022 mg
Niacin 0.320 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.040 mg
Folate, DFE 6 mcg
Vitamin A 16 IU
A case of “Bottle gourd poisoning” has came in the notice when 59-year-old Sushil Kumar Saxena, Deputy Secretary in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, died in a hospital after consuming a glass of bottle gourd and bitter gourd juice in June 2010. An expert committee was constituted by the Health Ministry to study the possible side effects of bottle gourd, confirmed the death by bottle gourd poisoning.
Since then, a public advisory has been issued which says: “A slice of bottle gourd should be tasted before extracting the juice to ensure that it is not bitter. If bitter, it should be discarded and not be consumed.” Bitter bottle gourd carries a highly toxic compound named “Tetracyclic Triterpenoid Cucurbitacins” that can cause serious side-effects. If one faces any symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal bleeding after consumption of bottle gourd juice, he should be rushed to the nearest hospital immediately.
Do not mix bottle gourd juice with other vegetable juices – The advisory also suggests not mixing bottle gourd juice with any other vegetable juice.
How To Make Bottle Gourd Juice
To prepare a healthy bottle gourd juice, take a fresh bottle gourd, and taste a slice to ensure it is not bitter. Then peel it and chop into small pieces and put them into the juicer. Now drink the fresh juice to enjoy its wonderful health benefits. Optionally you can also strain the juice and can also add a pinch of salt or pepper to enhance the taste.
Benefits of Bottle Gourd or Lauki Juice
Consuming cooked bottle gourd or bottle gourd juice shows its effects in cooling, calming and easy digestion. Low in calorie and fat it is also great for weight loss and high cholesterol levels. Let’s check some of the benefits of bottle gourd juice.
Bottle Gourd Juice
Bottle Gourd Juice for Weight Loss
Recently, bottle gourd has gained the importance for its weight losing properties. Since bottle gourd is high in water and dietary fiber, drinking a cup of bottle gourd juice in morning empty stomach gives a good fiber rich start to the day. While juice of a 100 gm bottle gourd only provides you as low as 14 calorie, it helps to curb the hunger pangs in morning and restrict you from over eating in the breakfast.
If you are drinking bottle gourd juice for weight loss, then you should not strain the juice as the weight loss properties are mainly because of its fiber content which gets filtered in the straining process. Also bottle gourd juice with a fruit bowl is a healthy replacement of unhealthy high calorie snacks in afternoon.
Blood Pressure and Heart Problems
Many health experts and naturopaths suggest that drinking bottle gourd juice benefits to high blood pressure and heart patients. Regular consumption of a cup of bottle gourd juice with a glass of water in empty stomach in early morning helps to reduce the high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and makes the heart healthy.
High fiber content in bottle gourd is helpful for digestive system, though it should never be consumed in raw form as it can harm the stomach and intestine. Fiber supports the digestive system and prevents constipation and its related disorders like flatulence and piles. This vegetable is also recommended by ayurvedic practitioners for liver inflammation and to support the liver to efficiently process food for maximum absorption of nutrition.
Bottle gourd is full of water content and cooling properties, and so useful in treating urinary disorders. A glass of bottle gourd juice helps to reduce the burning sensation in urinary passage caused by high acidity of urine.
Bottle Gourd Juice for Diabetics
Bottle gourd or Lauki juice is an excellent remedy for the excessive thirst caused by diabetes, diarrhea, and over consumption of fatty foods. A glass of bottle gourd juice with a pinch of salt quenches the thirst, prevents fatigue due to loss of sodium and keeps you refreshed in summers.
Premature Graying of Hair
As per Ayurveda, consuming a glass of bottle gourd juice in early morning prevents and treats premature graying of hairs.
Bottle gourd has been archaeologically known to be used since 11,000 to 13,000 years and has served as a popular vegetable in the Asian regions for a long time. The recent researches that have revealed its medicinal properties such as digestion improvement and weight loss are resulting into worldwide popularity of it. Keeping a couple of strict precautions before using this white flowered gourd is recommended so that its maximum benefits can be reaped.